Kashmir is renowned for its beauty and serenity. Home to a stunning terrain of lakes and orchards, the region also hosts mesmerising cities. It is the jewel in the crown of India, towered by the mighty Himalayas.
The Joy of Kashmiri Cuisine
The regional cuisine of Kashmir is often bold in flavour, with the Kashmiri red chilli being particularly important. During the cold season, the heat of this chilli is perfect for a warming effect. It has be traditionally influenced by Kashmiri pundits and Mughlai cuisines.
Throughout many dishes, aromatic and heady spices are used, including cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and fennel. Garlic and onion aren’t used much in typical Kashmiri meals. This is epitomised in Kashmiri Dum Aloo, a typical north Indian dish. In Indian cuisine, there are only 2 types of potatoes: large and baby potatoes. The Kashmiri Dum Aloo only uses baby potatoes, making it different from other Indian potato curries.
Colour is a big part of the Kashmiri cuisine with both turmeric and saffron key ingredients. In fact, saffron’s aromatic flavour has become an integral part of Kashmiri cuisine that some would even described it as Kashmir’s gastronomic trademark.
Kashmir valley is renowned across the country for its traditional baking heritage. Traditional bakeries are known as Kaandar, and they often bake a variety of different breads adorned with seeds. A typical Kashmiri bread has a golden brown crust, and is topped with sesame and poppy seeds. Kashmiri Bakarkahni holds a special place in Kashmiri cuisine. In appearance, it is similar to naan, however, it has multiple crisp layers and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
There are two very famous types of tea from Kashmir: noon chai and kahwa. Noon chai is made from black tea, salt, milk, and bicarbonate of soda. These ingredients cause a chemical reaction creating a unique pink colour. Try this recipe to make your own noon chai!
Kahwa is a green tea that is often prepared with spices, walnuts or almonds, and saffron. Kahwa is typically a celebration tea, therefore can often be served at religious places, festivals, and marriages.
The Joy of travelling in Kashmir
The Kashmir valley is 140km of stunning lakes, orchards, paddy fields, and apple groves. The summer capital of Kashmir is Srinagar. Srinagar is acclaimed for its gardens, lakes, and houseboats. The houseboats tradition on the Kashmiri lakes started during the British Raj era. At this time, foreigners were not allowed to buy land, therefore many constructed houseboats to live here. The earliest records of Srinagar describe it as the city of sun. Throughout the cities of Kashmir, the abundance of beautiful flora is obvious. For example, Gulmarg is a serene landscape, whose name literally translates as place of roses. The landscape of Kashmir is a scenery studded with raw beauty.
“If there be paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here”
The Mughal Emperor Jehangeer writing about Kashmir.
Kashmir is also home of the largest tulip garden of its kind within Asia. Throughout springtime, Kashmir is an eruption of colours and flowers that envelope the landscape making it a stunning place to be.